Downtown Nashville Bar Caught Violating City’s Live Music Ban

A sign on the side of a building

I never thought I would be writing about a bar in Nashville getting in trouble for having live music, but, well, here we are.

Nashville began their phased reopening last week, with restaurants and bars that serve food being able to reopen at half capacity. Under the first phase of the plan, however, live music is still banned. But one bar on lower Broadway in downtown Nashville was caught violating that ban this weekend.

According to Newschannel 5, a video from this weekend shows that Legend’s Corner had (gasp!) a single musician on stage playing some tunes for patrons. And now, the city of Nashville plans to investigate and follow up with the bar to ensure that they’re complying with the regulations going forward.

A black coffee maker on a counter

Legend’s owner Ruble Sanderson has been an outspoken critic of the city’s phased reopening plan because it doesn’t allow live music until phase 3, having previously said:

“If the restaurants can open and have five or six cooks in the kitchen, why can’t we have one or two musicians on stage? It just makes no sense at all.”

Now, I can’t say that I disagree with him.

Obviously one musician on stage, six feet away from other patrons, isn’t any more dangerous than throwing 50 people in the bar to begin with. But I assume the live music ban has more to do with keeping the bars from attracting large crowds and less to do with the single musicians. And as much as I disagree with it, it’s still the rule right now – ridiculous as it may be to ban live music in Music City.

Other bars on Broadway have been forced to get creative when it comes to reopening without live music. Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock & Roll Steakhouse (I just like typing out the full name of that bar because it’s so absurd) seems to have found a way around the ban by having a band play on an empty upstairs floor and broadcasting it live to patrons on lower floors. Sure, it’s not the same as having the band on stage in front of you, but at this point at least it’s something.

Luckily for Legend’s, the Metro Public Health director said that he doesn’t expect the bar to receive any citations over their live music this weekend, but that they will get a notice to comply letter reminding them of the restrictions.

Meanwhile, Sanderson hopes that the bar owners and the city can reach some kind of agreement that would put live music back in Nashville bars sooner than phase 3, which may not come until June at the earliest.

For the sake of the musicians and the bar owners both, let’s hope they figure something out soon.

I’ve got a $20 to drop in the tip jar for “Chattahoochee” as soon as the band gets back onstage.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock